It was an eventful day at St. Anthony's Catholic School.
On Wednesday morning, kindergarten- through- third- grade students were on campus — for some, it was their first day away from home during the COVID-19 pandemic — for in-person instructions.
"We had 90 percent (students) who came back," said Office Administrator Kelly Meyer.
She mentioned that the teachers, who have been on campus conducting livestream instructions since the start of the school year, were thrilled to see youngsters back in the classroom.
"They were excited. This was the first time in a long time that it resembled normalcy," Meyer said.
Fourth- through- sixth- grade students are scheduled to return today and Friday.
K-6 families of the school were provided with the choice of immediately returning their student to school or wait and continue with distance learning. "Our intent was to give families those options," said Meyer.
The partial reopening of the school was part of the process that started about a month ago.
St. Anthony's officials submitted a waiver and plan for reopening to the San Joaquin County Department of Public Health in Aug. 31.
"Unfortunately, the state and county are not accepting waivers for seventh and eighth graders at this time," said Principal Susie Dickert in her letter to St. Anthony's School parents. "However, we are working on a plan and will e-mail middle school families separately on how we can get those students back on campus."
On Sept. 8, the county passed on the St. Anthony's K-6 plans to the state for final approval.
"We found out last Friday (Sept. 11) that we had been approved to reopen (with in-person instruction)," Meyer said.
Students were back dressed in uniform.
New safety protocols and procedures, in compliance with county and state guidelines, were put in place.
This includes parents not being allowed on campus at this time. Instead, they were instructed to drop off and pick up their student in the designated areas in the school parking lot and on Sutter Street.
"The drop off this morning went smoothly," Meyer said,